Desperate Army Wives Strip Naked to Save Their Soldier Husbands From Suicide; Want Leaders to Look, Listen, Act

Befriended by an Army family advocacy counselor, Ashley Wise was encouraged to openly share details of her marriage and her husband’s readjustment struggles at home following multiple combat tours. Her husband, Robert, a former Marine turned Army staff sergeant, was suicidal and needed help. Instead helping Ashley get her husband treatment, the family counselor announced he was being processed for domestic abuse crimes and told her he was facing the possibility of dishonorable discharge. Ashley stripped in protest and started a Facebook page called, “Battling Bare.” Now dozens of Army wives — also struggling to get their war-scarred husbands help — have joined Ashley’s naked protest and campaign to save soldiers’ lives.

Army Wife’s Campaign Highlights Combat Stresses

by Jon R. Anderson
Military Times, June 30, 2012

Ashley Wise was about to do something foolish.

Ashley and Robert Wise

Instead, she stripped off her shirt, grabbed her husband’s AR15 assault rifle and a bottle of eyeliner and asked her friend for some help.

Wise had just told her neighbor and fellow Army wife she was seriously considering streaking in front of the 101st Airborne Division’s command building at Fort Campbell, Ky.

“I wanted to do something — anything — that would get their attention,” she says.

Her husband, Robert, a former Marine turned Army infantry staff sergeant, was struggling through the fog after war that had left him cold and clouded ever since returning from his second tour in Iraq in 2010. A string of recent suicides among friends and battle buddies had only made things worse.

Military counselors had told him he was just having trouble “reintegrating” from the war. Nothing to worry about, he was told.

But Ashley knew better. The fights were getting bad. The kids were getting scared. One night he retreated to a hotel room, but not before grabbing his guns and some booze. When she called him later that night, she says she was horrified to hear him say he “might do something stupid.”

Broken by Battle
Wounded by War

My Love is Forever
To you this I swore

I Will Quiet your silent screams
Help Heal your shattered soul
Until once again
My Love

You are whole

— The Battling Bare Promise

The next day, an Army family advocacy counselor encouraged her to open up, and told her she was in a safe place. Yes, things had gotten physical a few times. “It was never serious, just stupid stuff; never a black eye or a broken bone.” Most recently, he had grabbed her by the arms and moved her aside in the middle of a disagreement.

The next thing she knew, her husband was being charged with domestic abuse, and faced a dishonorable discharge from the Army.

“I was shocked. That was never my intent.” She was told it didn’t matter. She asked Fort Campbell’s top enlisted adviser to intervene.

She was told it was out his hands.

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View the Battling Bare website

Fort Bragg Soldier Accused in Toolbox Theft, Fatally Shoots His Battalion Commander Before Turning Gun on Himself

A Fort Bragg soldier facing court-martial punishment and possible discharge for an alleged toolbox theft, pulled a pistol and shot to death LtCol. Roy L. Tisdale June 28, 2012 during a pre-holiday safety brief aboard the North Carolina Army post. Tisdale, a Fort Bragg battalion commander, is pictured above second from left marching in a Sept. 23 ceremony. The soldier accused of Tisdale’s murder turned his pistol on himself after hitting Tisdale at least five times. The shooter was a subordinate member of the slain officer’s command and is not expected to survive. A report in the Los Angeles Times said he had served as a member of Tisdale’s personal security detail during a recent deployment to Afghanistan. (DoD)

Family Friends Identify Slain Fort Bragg Soldier as Lt. Col. Roy L. Tisdale

by Drew Brooks
The Fayetteville Observer, June 29, 2012

Spc. Ricky G. Elder, Fort Bragg Soldier Who Shot Commander, Dies

UPDATE: June 30, 2012

A Fort Bragg battalion commander who was shot and killed Thursday afternoon has been identified by family friends as Lt. Col. Roy L. Tisdale.

Tisdale was killed during a unit safety briefing in a field near the Bastogne Gables neighborhood on Fort Bragg.

Ricky G. Elder

LtCol. Roy L. Tisdale

Fort Bragg officials have not identified Tisdale or the soldier who opened fire during the briefing before turning the weapon on himself.

A third soldier who was wounded has been identified as Spc. Michael E. Latham, Fort Bragg officials said Friday.

All three were assigned to the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, according to Fort Bragg.

Latham, a signal support system specialist, was treated at Womack Army Medical Center for minor, non-life-threatening injuries and released.

Latham, 22, is a Vacaville, Calif., native who joined the Army in October 2009.

The shooter is in critical condition and is in custody, Fort Bragg officials said.

The remaining identifications will be released “consistent with Department of Defense policies following next-of-kin notification,” according to a news release from Fort Bragg. A Fort Bragg spokesman said he could not say why there was a delay in naming those involved in the shooting, which occurred about 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

Family friends and former colleagues described Tisdale as a family man who deserved to be known for more than just the rank he wore.

Tisdale was commander of the 525th Brigade Support Battalion.

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New Report Cites Continued Stigma, VA Benefits Backlog, Among Significant Barriers to Veterans Mental Health Care

According to a new report published June 28, 2012 by The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) titled, “Parity for Patriots – The Mental Health Needs of Military Personnel, Veterans and their Families,” troops coming home from multiple combat zone tours are experiencing record levels of psychiatric injuries such as PTSD and depression. The report lists barriers to care, such as stigma and a growing backlog of VA disability claims, as serious problems awaiting service members when they come home from war. Above, Marine Corps Sgt. Jesse E. Leach assists Lance Cpl. Juan Valdez-Castillo after he was shot by a sniper in Anbar Province, Iraq on October 31, 2006. (Joao Silva/NYT)

Mental Wounds Plague Veterans

by Alan Johnson
The Columbus Dispatch, June 28, 2012

America’s wars are winding down, but America’s warriors are coming home with hidden wounds: post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic depression and other serious mental-health problems.

As a result, alcohol and drug problems, family violence and suicide are plaguing veterans and their loved ones, according to a National Alliance on Mental Illness report released today. A veteran commits suicide every 80 minutes in the U.S., while someone on active duty takes his or her life every 36 hours, the NAMI report says.

The national report, “Parity for Patriots,” provides detailed statistics on growing mental illness affecting many of the 2.2 million active-duty personnel in the U.S. and millions more veterans and families members.

– One in five active duty military personnel have experienced symptoms of PTSD, depression or other mental health conditions

– One active duty soldier dies by suicide every 36 hours and one veteran every 80 minutes

– Suicides have increased within National Guard and Reserve forces, even among those who have never been activated and are not eligible for care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

– More than one third of military spouses live with at least one mental disorder

– One third of children with at least one deployed parent have had psychological problems such as depression, anxiety and acute stress reaction — NAMI 2012 Report: Parity for Patriots – The Mental Health Needs of Military Personnel, Veterans and their Families

Quoting a 911 call-center counselor, the report says, “He just said he thinks he should walk out into traffic on Interstate 5 and end it all. That life is not worth living.”

NAMI concluded that the Veterans Affairs medical system is “hard to penetrate” for those seeking mental-health treatment. Half wait 50 days for their initial assessment. The agency has a backlog of nearly 900,000 cases awaiting disability benefits.

At the same time, barriers remain to parity between physical and mental-heath care — despite a 2008 law aimed at fixing the problem.

Attitudes also play a big role, NAMI reported. Active military personnel and many veterans are reluctant to seek treatment for fear of the stigma.

Mental-health problems are prevalent in family members, too: Thirty-seven percent of spouses were diagnosed with various disorders, and one-third of the 776,000 children of active military personnel have acute stress reaction, depression, anxiety or behavior disorders, the report said.

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